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Rolex Mainspring Barrel

The heart of any mechanical timepiece lies in its movement, and central to this movement is the mainspring barrel. In a Rolex watch, the mainspring barrel plays a pivotal role. Essentially, it's a cylindrical component that houses the mainspring - a tightly wound strip of special metal that stores energy. When you wind a Rolex, you're essentially winding this mainspring, transferring energy to it.

As the mainspring slowly unwinds, this energy is then methodically released, driving the gears and, in turn, the hands of the watch. This is what allows the Rolex to keep time so precisely. Over the years, Rolex has meticulously perfected the design and durability of their mainspring barrels to ensure maximum performance and longevity. It's these intricacies and attention to detail that underscore the brand's commitment to unmatched craftsmanship.

A mainspring barrel is a simple, yet essential, part of any Rolex watch. The mainspring serves as the power plant for a mechanical watch movement. By winding the spring the watch will store up energy, which is then used to keep your timepiece running.  So, when someone references the mainspring barrel of a Rolex, they're talking about the very essence of what makes the watch tick – both literally and metaphorically. 

Below you will find a diagram outlining the various pieces that make up a Rolex mainspring barrel.mainspring barrel diagram

  • Teeth: The teeth on a mainspring barrel is used to drive the wheel train.
  • Mainspring:  The mainspring is a metal coiled ribbon.  Twisting the mainspring in a spiral pattern will allow energy to be stored.
  • Arbor: The mainspring is coiled around an axle called an Arbor. The mainspring is wound when the arbor is turned. Once wound the force of the coiled mainspring will turn the arbor in the opposite direction to run the wristwatch.
  • Barrel Cover: The barrel cover is used to seal the mainspring components securely within the mainspring barrel assembly.

Fully Assembled Mainspring Barrel

Mainspring Barrel Assembly

Mainspring barrel components

mainspring barrel parts

Top view of a Rolex mainspring barrel.
top view rolex mainspring barrel

Removing The Mainspring

Removing a mainspring barrel can be simple if you have the right tools. Below is a general guide that will demonstrate how to create a tool that can be used to remove the mainspring.

What You Will Need


To get started you will need the following.

  • Quarts movement plastic container
  • 12.35mm drill bit
  • Drill, flex shaft, or lathe
  • Aerosol spray bottle with straw

Time To Get To Work!

Step 1:

If you have worked with a quarts movement you may have noted the clear plastic container that it comes with. This is the container that we will be using the create our tool.

Once you have your plastic container ready, use a 12.35mm drill bit to make a hole in the top center of the container. Be sure to remove any debris after drilling.  Your container should look like the following image before proceeding.

mainspring barrel tool

Step 2:

rolex mainspring barrel on top of tool

Place your new tool securely on a workbench so that you can securely add your mainspring barrel. With the arbor facing up, place the mainspring barrel on top of the hole.

Step 3:

mainspring barrel removal

Point the straw of an aerosol spray bottle directly on top of the arbor. Squeeze the trigger. If the mainspring barrel does not separate you will need to check the diameter of the straw. A straw that is too small will not work. In some cases using needle nose pliers to widen the straw diameter will work.  Using a larger straw is another solution.

Step 4:

mainspring, arbor, barrel, cover

Once the mainspring components have fallen into the plastic container you can safely open the clear container and remove the mainspring, arbor and barrel cover.

rolex mainspring barel tool

Removing a mainspring can be quick and easy if you have the right tools.  By creating this simple tool from materials you already have you can safely remove the mainspring from your Rolex mainspring barrel.

It is not recommended that you attempt to do any watch repairs on your own.  If you need repairs on your Rolex watch it is best to use a certified watch repair shop.